Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No they didn't...

Truth be told, I have never seen a single episode of America's Next Top Model, and before reading about this today, I already would have said I never will. Now I'm too dumbfounded to even find the TV remote.
Ain’t nothin’ hotter than a dead girl. That’s the take-away message from this week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, in which Tyra “I care so much about my girls” Banks & co. created the most brazen bit of ad-industry misogyny ever to grace the reality TV genre: an entire episode presenting a gaggle of underfed model wannabes as the mutilated, mangled and murdered epitome of beauty.
The story has a link to the pictures, along with comments from the show's judges about how beautiful the girls look pretending to be dead and mutilated (several also have fake bruises--in the sense that the bruising probably caused the death.)

As I have stated before, I do not have a problem with people doing what they want, so long as there is informed consent all around and no one gets hurt. I will assume, for the sake of argument, that all models depicted herein consented to have fake blood and brain matter splashed on the wall behind them and so forth. I'm more troubled by the fact that this is considered "beautiful" or "entertaining" at all. I have my doubts that this little presentation is any more likely to lead to more violence against women than the average episode of CSI (dead showgirl of the week). This is more like a slightly-higher-concept Friday the 13th--array a bunch of hotties, provide little emotinal connection, then knock them off in a series of unoriginal and dramatically unsatisfying ways. How many people genuinely find this entertaining?

I am somewhat reminded of the Coliseum scenes in Gladiator ("Are you not entertained?")--after the film I recall remarking to a friend that our culture is still in decent shape, at least compared to what Romans found entertaining. I'm less sure now.

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